Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies

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The Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) has created this fourth-annual Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies to empower you to make smarter, healthier shopping choices for a toxic-free future. This guide lists the most common back-to-school supplies made out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) plastic and suggests safer PVC-free alternatives.

Many children's school supplies, such as lunchboxes, backpacks and binders, are often made out of PVC - an unnecessary toxic plastic that is dangerous to our health and the environment across its lifecycle: from production, to use, to disposal.

PVC is unique among plastics because it contains dangerous chemical additives. These harmful chemicals include phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child's health. What's worse is the danger these chemicals pose. Phthalates and other toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time posing unnecessary dangers to children. Over 90 percent of all phthalates are used to soften or plasticize PVC products. Congress just recently banned phthalates in children's toys, yet they are widespread in other PVC products. Children are at risk from even small exposures to these toxic chemicals. That's why it's important to purchase PVC-free school supplies.

The guide includes sections on "How to Identify PVC products", "Tips for avoiding PVC school supplies", as well as an extensive list of PVC-free products and suppliers.

About the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ)
CHEJ mentors the movement to build healthier communities by empowering people to prevent the harm caused by chemical and toxic threats. We accomplish our work by connecting local community groups to national initiatives and corporate campaigns. CHEJ works with communities to empower groups by providing the tools, strategic vision, and encouragement they need to advocate for human health and the prevention of harm.

Following her successful effort to prevent further harm for families living in contaminated Love Canal, Lois Gibbs founded CHEJ in 1981 to continue the journey. To date, CHEJ has assisted over 10,000 groups nationwide. Details on CHEJ's efforts to help families and communities prevent harm can be found on

Center for Health, Environment & Justice
Topic Areas: 
Environmental Health
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Geographic Location: 
All Minnesota
Outside Minnesota
21 pp.
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Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ)
c/o Greenspaces
394 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10007-2223